New is Not a Quality Criteria Per Se: a supply chain strategy for cost containment & quality control
Is the Newest Equipment the Best Equipment for the medical laboratory space?
New is not a quality criteria per se.
Many of us are under the assumption that the newest is always the highest quality. That assumption may be true in some instances, but not all. I was recently talking with a Lead Technician who worked with R&D for world-class OEM. The gist of our discussion centered around the idea of time-to-failure and built in obsolescence on new product lines or platforms. The question right off the assembly line is not “will” it fail, but “when” will it fail? I was surprised that one newly released medical device had a 50% failure rate in the first year, and lets just say it was not a surprise to the OEM.
With that in mind, we have to continually assess whether or not we are purchasing technology for technologies sake –and what that trap may cost us. There are many instances where time-tested technologies provide reliability & ensure quality outcomes at a value proposition that is hard to beat. What do we mean by this? Let’s use an example. If you look in the histology department of any hospital, you will be hard pressed to find any technological changes in the basic processes over the last several decades. The microtome may look sleeker, but it is functionally the same fundamental concept at work. We know that this is one example, but it applies to many departments within the hospital. The question you have to ask yourself is, are you living under the pretense that new is the optimal quality criteria? Most of us are.
Purchasing the newest product lines may be fine in some instances where there is a true technological leap. However, a scalpel is still a scalpel, and x-rays are x-rays. It may have nice new housing, but intrinsically it is still the same diagnostic device. However, if you take a hard look at our current healthcare environment, we must reexamine the paradigm. We have to do more with less.
How can we ensure lower costs, increase patient satisfaction and outcomes, and do so with a decreased budget & lower reimbursement?
Under the old paradigm, we are charged with an impossible task. We must pay a premium for untested new technology, and cut costs. So… how can we navigate this scenario? For the best value we need quality items with the essential features & benefits for a quality diagnosis, without incurring the cost of shiny bells & whistles that carry no inherent quality difference or lifespan guarantee.
One solution for many healthcare organizations is taking a good look at high quality remanufactured tried-and-true equipment. It brings value, ensures a quality outcome, and it’s been vetted in the field over time so that the cream of quality has risen to the top. If you think about it, what better validation is there than testing in the field? I know this is a rhetorical question, but I have to answer it. It’s invaluable & self-evident. Going back to my conversation with the R&D Technician, many new products will go through planned phases of upgrades because of inherent design flaws, where the Guinea Pig is you (or the first several generations of end users).
My challenge to you is to take an open minded review of remanufactured equipment for your next capital equipment purchase. Once you look at the numbers and the value it can bring, you will be doing yourself and your facility a true service. The partner you choose for remanufacturing is the most important decision when going down this avenue. Here is an article that can help you vet prospective partners.
Can you afford to continue vetting the quality & absorbing the cost of New Equipment?
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